Update {Back from a hiatus}

After a long hiatus, I finally found my way back here. During these last couple years of silence in this space, life has been moving at warp speed. I’ve graduated my oldest daughter from our homeschool in May 2017, and that August we moved her into her dorm in Chicago. She’s already in her Junior year as she graduated with 27 credit hours (19 of which they accepted). I’m as surprised as anyone to have launched one out of the nest! We still have two daughters at home aged 16 and 11, and we still educate at home. Though our high schooler takes courses with other homeschoolers at our local co-op and online classes through our local public school system. She’s a sophomore and my youngest is in fifth grade.

Though I still create in the kitchen, I’ve also developed new interests and express my creativity in other ways these days. I still love spending time hiking and kayaking in the outdoors. My daily time in nature is how I recharge and replenish my soul. I’ve begun practicing vinyasa yoga at a local studio. It’s calming, centering, and helped me immensely in processing and grieving my dad’s death in June 2017. He battled early onset dementia for 10 years, and passed away at the young age of 64. Other than his dementia, he was totally healthy. I’ve never shared about it here in the past because I found it very painful at the time.

I’ve rediscovered reading fiction after 20 years or so of mainly reading non-fiction, children’s books and educational reading. I’ve always been an avid reader, but around the time I became a mom pleasure reading fiction for fun took a huge hit! My oldest daughter recommended I read Jane Eyre during her senior year (when she was exclusively taking all her classes at our local state college). Fully immersed in that world, I devoured Jane Eyre and moved onto Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca. An atmospheric novel full of mystery and suspense. It’s now one of my all-time favorites. I’m now updating regularly over at Good Reads again, and these last couple years I’ve read many books after discovering which genres are most interesting to me. I’d love to share many books and podcasts I love with you here in the future.

I also had some issues getting this site back up and running, and it took time to get figured out. My Instagram account where I kept up with many of you was unfortunately hacked into and stolen from me this past October. After having that account since 2012, it seems to be gone forever. If you noticed I was missing, that’s why I suddenly vanished. I was very upset, but took this as an opportunity to get started up with Bookstagram. Email me or comment below if you are interested in connecting there, and I’ll find and add you. Just leave me your username.

I miss writing and connecting with all of you! But does anyone read blogs anymore now that You Tube and Podcasts are so popular? I’d be very happy to start sharing here again fairly regularly. Leave a quick comment below if you received this update in your email (if you are a subscriber), or if you’d like to read future posts.

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Life lately


Hi there! I know it’s been awhile. I can hardly believe we are already almost through the summer! Where does the time go? It’s been an eventful spring. We’ve been on a couple family Disney trips, hubby and I were both invited and attended spiritual retreat weekends (a month apart…men go with men, women with women), we bought our first kayaks and have been getting a lot of use out of them, we’ve gone camping twice (overnights…just the 2 of us!), celebrated with very good friends at their daughter’s high school graduation, finished up with a marriage group we’ve been leading since last November (sad…they are family now!), started up a new marriage group a few weeks ago, and also finished and shared our marriage story/testimony at ReEngage (the marriage ministry at church we serve in). We really enjoying serving together, and are so blessed by the couples we meet!

These are just a few highlights that come to mind. We also finished out another school year in our homeschool. This coming year our oldest daughter will be a senior in high school (though she will be taking all her courses at our local state college through the early admissions program!), our middle daughter will be in 8th grade and our youngest is going into 3rd. Our girls are doing great…time please slow down! 😉  In fact our 17 year old went on her first out of the country mission trip to Haiti this past spring break which she funded herself. What an amazing experience for her! Two weeks after she returned she got really sick with flu-like symptoms and since she had been in Haiti we had to have her tested for Malaria just in case. What a scary week that was!


I’m really excited to back in this space, and have missed you all tremendously. I miss writing, I miss sharing. However I know blogging has changed tremendously over the last few years, and I find that I’m sometimes wondering whether there is any purpose for having my blog. Many of the reasons I chose to start one back in 2009 can now be fulfilled in other ways. I started it mainly to link up with other like-minded food lovers and recipe creators. I can now spend time scrolling my Instagram feed, and interacting with you guys on social media. In fact, I spend most of my social media time on Instagram. Let’s connect there if we don’t already! It seems everyone and their mother has a food blog now, and my 13 year old loves YouTube, which is another HUGE medium. It’s almost like if I don’t VLOG or have a YouTube channel, then why share at all? I mean do people still read blogs??

I’ve come to terms with the fact that this space is mine, and regardless of where the rest of the world is headed, I still love having my memories and recipes documented here. I still like inventing concoctions in the kitchen and sharing them with you all. I LOVE to encourage others in their healthy living journeys and to try new things! I’m still eating a mostly Whole30 lifestyle, and I have many of those recipes coming up for you SOON! I like sharing about my family and our adventures together, and interacting with all of you. So hopefully there are still some of you out there reading. Give a quick shout out…I’d LOVE to hear from you!


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Beach hiking…..and finding my way back to me!

Beach hiking I’ve had an amazing week fitness-wise! Finally! I also discovered my new favorite way to get in cardio, and it’s a really awesome workout too. After several months of just squeezing in 1-2 strength training workouts a week at my mom’s fitness studio haphazardly…in an around all the holiday festivities and carting the kids around to all their functions, I finally hit a brick wall mentally and emotionally.

The last 3 months have literally been non-stop! October was the month of house organization, de-cluttering and other big house projects. Which rolled right into November for my middle daughter’s 13th birthday which we hosted at our home. Which then led right into Thanksgiving, December, Christmas, traveling to see and visit with family and ringing in the new year. It was a whirlwind few months, and we had A LOT of fun…..however, I’m sure I’m not the only one who starts to crave routine and normalcy.

Beach hiking
I jumped right into taking down the tree, and doing a deep clean on the house. Unpacking from our trip, and getting the van cleaned out. Starting back to school with the girls, and getting back to the office. All good things, and I definitely feel accomplished. But I looked around and realized I’d fallen to the bottom of the list. Where was my fitness time? And what about my outdoor time that I crave each day? When had my runs stopped?

So when I hit that proverbial brick wall…when I looked around and realized that I was completely worn out, and that my nerves were starting to fray and wear too thin, I knew I needed to take action. I needed blue sky and nature time again on a daily basis, and I needed to get my body moving….walking, running whatever. Just needing to make that time a priority again instead of fitting it in around everything else in my week.

Beach hiking

And ahhh!!! At last!! It happened quite by accident. On Mondays, I take my 16 year old daughter to her Algebra II class. It’s only an hour, so there isn’t time to come all the way home. I headed over to the inlet to do a walk. I figured the time at the beach would do me a world of good, but that I could also fit in a walk which I also doubled as prayer time since we are currently on the Daniel Fast with our church. But instead of walking down near the water like I’ve done literally every time I’ve ever walked on the beach, I decided to walk up near the dunes.

It was chilly out ….55 degrees which in South Florida is COLD! And since I was keeping on my shoes anyway, I thought about what a great workout it is when you walk in sand when it isn’t hard packed. Hence the name, beach hiking….it may not be the same as hiking in the mountains, but the sandy dunes certainly mimic hiking rather than walking. I know I didn’t re-invent the wheel, and people have been doing this for centuries, but for this gal…it’s something new and exciting.

Well not only was a GREAT workout, my soul found rest, solitude, peace, refreshment, joy and as the week progressed….bit by bit, I felt myself again. I felt calm and centered, and I know God had answered my prayer. To just BE STILL!

beach hiking

I’m incredulous I’ve been there 7 out of the past 8 mornings! I’m sure this week will be the exception, and not the rule….but if I can get out here at least 4 – 5 mornings a week I’ll be happy. These beach hikes feel so special that it should really only be reserved for special occasions. I almost feel a bit of guilt creeping in. But here’s the deal….I live 5.8 miles from the beach. It’s only 10-11 minutes by car depending on traffic, and I’m there!! And not that I have to justify (I guess in my silly mind I do!), but that’s like a drive to the gym for most people.

I don’t care to work out at gyms anymore. Since I’ve had kids, time is so precious, and I like to double up my exercise with being outdoors and in nature. And I’m also blessed that I can do my strength training around the corner at my mom’s fitness studio (she’s a personal trainer!). So I can drive there…do a 2 mile beach hike and be home in an hours time. And my 15 1/2 minute per mile pace is pretty good…not too much slower than my running pace. I’ve told you before, I’m a slow runner! 😉

I’m challenging you to find something new to inspire you. It doesn’t have to be exercise or fitness related, but you definitely need to carve out some in nature and with creation. I’m constantly amazed at how new adventures await me around each corner! What are some of your new experiences?

beach hiking


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Chicken apple blueberry salad & eating clean

Chicken apple blueberry salad

Over the last year or so since discovering Whole30, I’ve rediscovered my love of salads. Whole30 has been good to me, and eating this way became second nature about 70% of the time. When sticking to this eating regime, which is mainly protein, veggies, fruit, healthy fats and cutting out sugar, dairy, gluten and processed foods, I feel great and have tons of energy….and no brain fog. I think I’ve mentioned I feel 10 years younger! Seriously!

Over the last year, we’ve been blessed with the opportunity to take several family trips, and when traveling we pack a cooler and bring food with us. I’ve found that not only do I feel better when traveling to have my own satisfying food, but it also cuts out a lot of bad choices we tend to make when we don’t have the options we crave. I guess part of the reason I travel with my own food is to have control….control over what I eat and when I eat. I must say it keeps you speeding along when your food is already cooked and right there with you.

Now this is not to say I don’t have my fair share of splurges, but because I’m able to eat a good percentage of my food from my own stash, I’m not wasting added calories on foods I don’t really care for. For example, on our recent trip to New York, I had indulged daily on NY bagels, and had NY pizza on 3 occasions that week. It was so worth it! And we were also doing a lot of walking everyday, so that helped offset caloric overload. 😉 It also helps with the budget.

I have to admit it’s been hard getting fully back on track since returning home. We’ve found a Brooklyn Water Bagel place, and their bagels are fairly close. So I’ve had bouts of running great with my clean eating, and then have a week we’re all eating bagels. Man, I finally know what New Yorkers mean when they talk about their pizza and bagels! They aren’t necessarily evil, but eating white flour makes me more prone to sugar cravings. It’s hard for me to be moderate with sugar….I tend to be all or nothing. So in coming off a rough 5 days or so of sugar intake (which happened while sick which makes it more of a double whammy on my system because I wasn’t exercising…..which counters some of the irritable effects of sugar), I am now craving these salads again, and higher protein and veggies.

I had fun last week getting into some fall cooking and baking. I made butternut squash apple/pear soup, gluten-free pumpkin muffins, chocolate chip cookies and cherry cheesecake bars which are still in my fridge. Oh and let’s not forget a fellow blogger’s apple fritter cake that I just had to try! The soup is amazing, and helped offset the sugar beast. But the chocolate chip cookies were a bad idea, and because I didn’t make them gluten-free, they sat like a lump in my stomach Friday night (and maybe Saturday too). My cold is finally subsiding….I’m feeling better today, and got back to my strength training routine this morning. I also made a pitcher of green smoothies. It makes 3 pints, and I drink 1 a day. It really helps with the sugar cravings.

This salad is fairly straight forward, and I usually bake my chicken breast with a homemade greek marinade. It’s easy to throw together when I keep the chicken already cooked and in the fridge. Another favorite of mine lately is chicken waldorf type salad which has been another staple of mine this year that I need to share. Hopefully you’ll be seeing a lot of recipe posts coming up along with our travel adventures I can’t wait to share. Stay tuned!

Chicken apple blueberry salad
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
  • Cooked chicken breast
  • Granny smith apple, diced
  • Vidalia onion, minced
  • Fresh blueberries, handful
  • Golden raisins
  • Pecans, chopped
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Dressing of choice
  1. Wash and chop romaine lettuce.
  2. Add salad toppings.
  3. Can use pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, but I used organic chicken breast marinated in a homemade greek marinade.


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Fall….my favorite season & life lately

Fall pumpkinsFall is descending on us once again. Living in South Florida though means we won’t get a real taste of fall weather-wise for probably at least another 2-3 weeks at the earliest. It’s okay, I’m used to it and the good news is that we already had lower humidity this past weekend. It’s coming…it’s coming, and that’s good enough! In the meantime, I’ll enjoy this view……..

Palm trees

At this time, everything is apple this and pumpkin that, and like everyone else in South Florida I’m fighting the urge to bake and pull out my boots and scarves. 🙂 I made a pot of gumbo at the beginning of September, and the following week I made Zuppa Toscana. I also made a batch of gluten-free pumpkin muffins and two batches of gluten-free lemon cranberry biscotti around the same time. Since then I’ve been holding back rather well, instead concentrating on clean eating and shedding a couple pounds before the inevitable holiday blitz. Because once I get into holiday baking mode, there will be no holding me back.

Gluten-free pumpkin muffinsLemon cranberry biscotti
I do think I’m going to make more muffins this week…not sure which kind. I’ve also been fighting the urge to make gluten-free chocolate chip cookies. While I’m off sugar, I eat a bowl of frozen cherries at night usually with a drizzle of coconut cream and a sprinkle of sea salt. It’s almost close enough to fool me into thinking I’m having ice cream. Okay without the creamy part, but nevertheless it fulfills the requirement of cold, sweet and maybe a tad creamy. You should definitely try it. It’s as simple as I make it sound, but maybe I’ll share it in a recipe post soon.

I’ve been schooling my girls (11th, 7th and 2nd), helping hubby out at the office, and trying to keep up with the whirlwind of social activities of two teen girls. Our oldest daughter got her first job back in August at our local library, and it’s really the perfect job for her…for us. She has great hours, great pay and a great schedule that she can really create for herself (20 hours a week). Carting her to and from work is also part of my day these days.

First day of work

Started up a Five in a Row co-op for my 2nd grader which has exceeded all our expectations and been a longtime dream of mine, and she’s also attending play practice for the annual Christmas play.

Leah's first day 2nd grade

Madeline lapbook

I also researched and ordered new curriculum for her 2nd grade year which she’s very excited about!

2nd grade curriculum

As for me…..we all started back to BSF (Bible Study Fellowship), and this year my hubby is attending with the men. We are studying the book of Revelation this year. SO interesting!


I’ve been weight training at my mom’s fitness studio since last April (finally seeing some pay off!), and just started back to running last week. I’m excited that the heat will soon dissipate, and there will be a coolness in the air when I run.


Surprisingly, I’ve been able to read for fun this summer, and this week alone I just finished 2 books that I started a couple months ago. Finally feel like I’ve done some summer reading.


And also getting out kayaking….one of my very favorite ways to spend my time. Although unfortunately this picture was taken the first week of September before Labor Day. I need to get back out there! On the bright side, I’ve stashed some birthday money and am on the hunt for my very own kayak!


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